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What if you've done all the plateau-busting things already?

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Author Topic: What if you've done all the plateau-busting things already?  (Read 9846 times)

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Oslo

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What if you've done all the plateau-busting things already?
« on: September 11, 2008, 04:24:03 AM »

I am at a healthy, slim weight, with a low bodyfat percentage.  20.6bmi, 18% bf.
 
I do HIIT and RT alternate days, 5-6 small meals a day. 
Calories have zigzagged all summer, and exercise has been daily and varied.

I am not particularly trying to lose more weight.  But following Hacker's Diet advice, I've been looking for an easy-to-maintain weight.

I've been averaging 1250cal for 8 days, and my weight has gone up .5 kg.   Every day I think, ok, tomorrow, expected correlation will happen, and then it doesn't.  I am a model citizen in the kitchen, whole foods, probiotics, etc.  I can't get to look forward to a post high-carb drop, because that happened and my ratios have been consistent since. 

John Walker says what happens when you find a natural landing place, you get more hungry  - but the weight still goes down if you've got a calorie-deficit.  I'm not more hungry.  I'm in the mindset of "maybe the food scale is wrong, maybe the measuring cups are wrong, maybe fitday is wrong  - maybe I am really eating 3000 calories?

Though I am at a weight I am comfortable at, I'd think one could continue to lose weight successfully certainly to a bmi of 20.2, for instance.  (A common bmi it seems for trim women athletes.) 

I'm not complaining - but it is a science query, and I am a bit bugged!

One of the paranoid issues is being worried to go back to eating more, and gaining weight.  That now 1250 is my new caloric intake necessary for MAINTAINING my weight.  That would be hard for me.  Even if I had a super low metabolism (I don't think I do), that number is lower than it should be.   Conservative estimate is ~2050.    I've never weighed more than 146lbs (23.5 bmi) so it wouldn't be a big drop in caloric needs. 

It seems I've read everything on the www about plateaus, and nothing seems to speak to this. 

Any wisdom on this subject?

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Looking for a point of natural easy-to-maintain stability with a BMI 20-21.  Down from 23+.

Heidi 555

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Re: What if you've done all the plateau-busting things already?
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2008, 06:30:06 AM »

Oslo, I really feel for where you're at.  You've worked so hard and been inspiringly impeccable to get there.  I understand your fears of gaining weight back.  The problem with restricted calorie diets is that our bodies tend to get too use to surviving on less.  Then we have to be able to eat a greatly restricted amount in order to sustain the loss.  I know a lot of folks here emphasize carb refeeding days where you occasionally eat a lot to stoke your metabolism.  Perhaps giving yourself permission to gain back some weight and go up and down might help to wear a groove into a new more permanent set point?  My guess is that over time you will gradually be able to eat more and sustain a lower weight.  But at first it seems only natural that weight would want to move back up into old more familiar territory.  The new low weight needs time for it to become the norm and thus a strong sustainable set point.

Our bodies definitely have a mind of their own.  It's hard to find the patience to work with what our body is trying to do and its timing of things.  I've noticed that I have a lot of fear around weighing less.  I've been having to reassure myself with each step of incremental fat loss that this is a good weight to be.  My body seems to need time to get use to weighing incrementally less, too. 

Hopefully, something I mentioned might be of help to you.  You're further along on a somewhat different path than I am.  I'm confident that you'll figure it out and then will have knowledge to pass on to the rest of us.
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Oslo

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Re: What if you've done all the plateau-busting things already?
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2008, 08:27:40 AM »

Thanks H.   I think we are in very similar boats... both of us mostly happy in overturned mushrooms, even if slightly different creeks. 

my first reaction is of course "Noooooo.....!  No gain back!"   But right, with tools in hand, I should be able to drift some without anxiety.

But it seems like my set point is fine, because I am not hungry.  Isn't that the test of that?

My daily caloric intake for the last three months (since I started losing) has been 1000-3000, rarely right down there around 1000, and with many high cal days corresponding with 5-7 hr hikes.   Carbs too, up and down. 

*totally unrelated side question, but also has been in my head:  If we know cutting carbs causes a couple pound loss, temporarily, and that weight returns when carbs do, why is that a worthwhile thing to do? 


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shovelqueen

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Re: What if you've done all the plateau-busting things already?
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2008, 09:10:23 AM »

totally unrelated side question, but also has been in my head:  If we know cutting carbs causes a couple pound loss, temporarily, and that weight returns when carbs do, why is that a worthwhile thing to do? 

It's not, really.  Carbs are stored as glucose in the muscle tissue and the liver.  Each molecule of glucose is stored with an attendant 4 molecules of water.  Deplete the carb storage, deplete the stored water, equals weight loss.  Eat more carbs, replenish stores - bingo, weight gain!  That's where %BF calculators can inject some sense into the situation.  Also, low carb foods are often low fibre, too, so the weight of bowel contents drops, hence a lower scale number.  None of it has to do with actual fat loss, the only kind of weight loss that is really important.
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tek_vixen

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Re: What if you've done all the plateau-busting things already?
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2008, 09:58:41 AM »


*totally unrelated side question, but also has been in my head:  If we know cutting carbs causes a couple pound loss, temporarily, and that weight returns when carbs do, why is that a worthwhile thing to do? 

It's not!  It's totally a head-game thing unless you are planning to live low-carb forever.  But if it makes you feel better, then by all means do it.  But looking at your situation, if I were lucky enough to be at my goal weight and have the kick-ass body that you have, I'd set myself a line about 3 pound above my absolute low.  Gradually add more calories in and monitor for proximity to the line.  If you're getting close, cut a few calories out.  If not, keep adding slowly until you are at a comfortable maintenance level.

But I do have a question for you.  In your first post of this thread, you mention that keeping your caloric intake to 1250 would be hard for you.  Then in the last post you say that it seems like your setpoint is fine because you're not hungry.  So if this is the case, why would it be hard for you to maintain the 1250 caloric intake?  I'm confused.

T-Vix
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Oslo

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Re: What if you've done all the plateau-busting things already?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2008, 10:25:00 AM »

Hi, right, and sorry not to be clearer.
I'm right with you - the question is, what is my absolute low?  I thought I'd hit it and get hungry, and instead I stopped losing, dropped calories further, and still not hungry.
 I lost weight all summer, at expected rate,  averaging 1550/day.   So my calculated average metabolic rate is about 2000.  And now I'm stalling at 1250, so that is what seems weird.  Does that make sense?   I don't want to have to stay at 1550, let alone 1250, forever because though I am not hungry, I have thought of this as a temporary situation, and have been looking forward to being more relaxed about eating things.   I make a mean batch of vegan pancakes, haven't had those in a long time. 
My thought of the moment is that I need to go back up to 1550ish, see what happens, prepared to not freak out if I gain a bit. 
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Looking for a point of natural easy-to-maintain stability with a BMI 20-21.  Down from 23+.

tek_vixen

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Re: What if you've done all the plateau-busting things already?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2008, 10:35:39 AM »

Ah, I get it now.  I think where you're going astray is in believing a calorie is a calorie, and if you have a 3500 calorie deficit, you will lose a pound.  I think that's a simplified model of what actually happens.  But unfortunately, we don't seem to understand all of the mechanisms in play, so it would seem strange that you'd be stalling out at 1250 calories.  I think you've got the right idea in going back up to 1550 and not freaking out.  I know, that's the hard part!!!  Just know that you look fabulous, and a pound or two either way is really not going to make any difference.  Only you and your scale (and a few thousand of your closest SLD friends) will know!

T-Vix
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pennyp

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Re: What if you've done all the plateau-busting things already?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2008, 10:36:49 AM »

I do believe that in the "maintenance phase" of most diets, it's customary to add calories slowly, and see how many you can tolerate before the scale makes an upward nudge. I'm betting that you can add more calories than you think, and not gain weight. Then, when you add, say, a pound, you pull back your intake slightly, and that's your true maintenance level. I have a suspicion that it would be more than 1250. Might be time for some vegan pancakes! Later on, it might be easier to lose an additional few pounds once you've been maintaining at a higher caloric intake for awhile.
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VeganKitten

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Re: What if you've done all the plateau-busting things already?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2008, 02:36:46 PM »

I seem to experience a buffer zone where my weight is steady ... between 1500 and 1900 cal/day, I can count on staying steady at around 135 pounds (now that I've well and truly settled at that setpoint -- I've been here a year). If I eat more than 1900, I definitely gain, and fewer than 1300, definitely lose. (between 1300 and 1500 is "maybe-lose-really-slowly"  :lol: )

But I want to be well and truly settled at a setpoint below 129 pounds, so I continue the battle.  8)

Not sure what my ultimate low would be. I guess I feel that less than 125 pounds would be "too skinny" on me, so I'm looking to settle somewhere between 126 and 129. And pull the alarm if I go above 130. But I'm not quite there yet.

I'd like to settle at 128, and be able to eat ~1700 calories. I may need to be more active, to maintain in that range. We'll see.
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Jasmyn

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Re: What if you've done all the plateau-busting things already?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2008, 08:08:17 PM »

Oslo, I really feel for where you're at.  You've worked so hard and been inspiringly impeccable to get there.  I understand your fears of gaining weight back.  The problem with restricted calorie diets is that our bodies tend to get too use to surviving on less.  Then we have to be able to eat a greatly restricted amount in order to sustain the loss.   ...<snip>...
Our bodies definitely have a mind of their own. ...<snip>

Oslo, I am really happy that you brought this up. A lot of us are near our goal weights, or at them. I am within 10 pounds of being a nice weight, and 15 pounds of being my goal weight, so I consider that pretty close. And then I will have to deal with what you are going through. I think this is the same thing Oprah and everyone else who goes off a diet suffers.  It is very interesting to me that when I have gone "off" a diet, and started eating whatever I felt like eating, I gained the weight back at a much faster pace than I lost it.  This is important, thank your for starting this topic.
Jas
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adventurer

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Re: What if you've done all the plateau-busting things already?
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2012, 02:56:51 PM »

You can do the extra credit in Seth's book:  eating new foods everyday, cooking at home, eating fermented food, nose clipping. 
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